What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Saturday, July 21, 2007

FEMA trailers: Why was action so tardy?

July 20, 2007

Is the federal government only now getting the message that FEMA trailers might be hazardous to health?

For nearly a year, StoryChat posters discussed the issue under the topic "Are FEMA trailers 'toxic tin cans?'" until the subject petered out.

It was based on a news report of the same title that ran on MSNBC ( in July 2006 and was mentioned in editorials since then about Katrina recovery in The Clarion-Ledger.

It has been no secret, for sure.

Yet, now, suddenly, it seems, the federal government is starting to pay attention - and pass the buck.

Fourth District U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor in February asked the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta for a "detailed investigation" into whether formaldehyde in trailers was causing an outbreak of respiratory illnesses.

While acknowledging high enough levels of formaldehyde "to cause irritation to eyes, nose and/or throat," CDC and FEMA suggested the effects can be avoided simply by airing out the trailers.

That's not much reassurance for the 65,900 Hurricane Katrina victims still housed in about 24,400 of the trailers in Mississippi - nor, perhaps, should it be to the Native American tribes Congress has authorized the units to be shipped to as cheap housing for reservations.

Congress should investigate for certain if the homes are "toxic tin cans" and how it came to be - and punish those responsible, including repaying taxpayers. Safety of citizens should come first.

Read original at Clarion Ledger.

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